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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

In the Articles of Faith we are told that we believe in being “subject” to our country’s leaders. What about Nazi Germany? I cannot imagine that the Church wanted its members to be obedient to Hitler. What was the Church’s stance on this issue for the saints in Germany? My instinct tells me that we are not told to obey evil dictators who are following Satan. Do you know what the church counseled its members to do there? I heard a church member last night tell his new convert wife that we believe in being subject to our leaders and therefore the saints were to obey Hitler and exterminate the Jews and that someday they would understand the reason for Heavenly Father allowing that. I told her that did not sound right to me and I would ask you! Thanks.

Kathleen

 

Answer

 

Dear Kathleen,

It’s easy to get into hot water when we start making judgments about in which circumstances we are willing to be obedient to the Lords’ commandments. There was not a law on the books in Germany to murder anyone, but there was the demand of the leader. If forced to kill those imprisoned in concentration camps one was free to disobey the order and by so doing suffer death himself. We must rely on God as the judge and not try to subject Him to our limited rationale.

The church did not advise any member of the German or Japanese forces who were members of the church to defect, but to do their duty with honor. I have heard of cases where wounded and captured U.S. soldiers were administered to by Mormon German soldiers.

 

Gramps

 

 

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